May 11, 2013 Mankako, Minnesota.
People are tall here—I am always looking up. And they have accents. Long o’s. like Noooo for no. There is a lilt in every conversation. Joe found me a book called “Talk like a Minnesotan”—I heard it is a classic. And it has been snowing up till early May. There have been a few storms 7 inches each time. And cold. I am glad I brought my winter parka. This week we finally have spring weather and it is gorgeous.
I had a friend for my first 4 weeks here. An APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) from Oregon. She had been working here since January and she was able to show me around. We went to the Schnell Brewery in New Ulm and other things German up that way. Mankato is more Scandinavian decent, I think. Deb and I also went to several restaurants and hung out and it was nice to have a companion.
The job is great. It is interesting. A lot of good staff. And patients who have serious mental illness. They have also committed crimes, some serious, and have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Except for the crime, it is like the old state institutions . Most of the people I have met have only committed one crime, either when they were not taking medications, or when they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The crime part makes it difficult for people to be allowed back into the community. I went to a hearing the other day. There was a three panel judge on a huge video hanging from the ceiling that about 8 of us, including the patient’s lawyer and the patient had to address. The patients are mentally ill and dangerous (MI&D)—the D part brings in the legal system. And there are politics. Because the patients are at the facility a long time—7 years is the average length of stay-, as a provider, I have plenty of time to research their illness and there is time to try different medications and treatments. Also, there are internal medicine physicians, who know the patients and I learn a lot consulting with them. And pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, even a foot care nurse! People get very good care.
I have a contract to be back here in Oct-Nov for another 8 weeks. Joe may come with me. We are trying to decide if it would be enough for him to hang out in the hotel —I have a nice 1 bedroom suite—and go to the malls during the day. I think it would be OK. After being in the jungle for so long, the first few days of being in a mall are exciting.! We have Barnes+Noble, TJ Maxx, Walmart, CVS and so many other stores competing for our money. Plus super grocery stores. It is hard to find someone we trust to stay in our house in Nosara with the dogs when we are both away. But there is an Oktoberfest in New Ulm, which is near here, in early October so that may interest him. We will see.
I go back to Paradise in next week. Joe insisted I buy more English pint glasses. And I have an assortment of sundries. We can get most things now in Costa Rica and it is not worth paying the overweight baggage charges. I will be in New Hampshire for July-Aug, back to outpatient. I am so fortunate that I have been able to move to Costa Rica AND progress in my career. I am now considered a provider.
It has been a good experience here. And I can’t wait to come home to the tropics. Love Joe and Helena